Defining Theft

While talking with my daughter the other day, our discussion veered into honesty in the office.  I recalled a conversation with my son about an NCO in the military who was being held for stealing a cookie–just one cookie.  I asked him how many cookies does one have to steal to be held liable for what was taken.  Honesty at home and work should be a way of life, but it isn’t for some people. 

Honesty has to be a way of life.  We all teach our children not to steal, but do we lead our lives with the same ideal?  Without thinking, a pen from work ends up in our pocket or purse and stays at home.  It happens all the time.  But do you keep it or return it to work?  My theory was always “if I paid for it, it’s mine; if the office paid, it’s theirs”.   My husband set this standard for our family.  He worked for the federal government and wouldn’t take one penny more than he was owed for travel.  He was scrupulously honest.  When he did our taxes, if he questioned something, he decided in the government’s favor.  When I found out, we got a CPA and he never did our taxes again.  I don’t mind paying the taxes, but I, at the very least, want a fair tax preparer.

During my daughter’s phone call, I was stopped cold when she said, “That is like the theft of time” talking about someone she knew who spent work time goofing off.  Now, that is not to say that we all don’t goof off at times, but never for long and never for the better part of a day everyday.  I had never thought of time as being something that could be stolen and it didn’t take long for me to realize that my daughter was correct. 

 I recalled that conversation and carried it further applying it to my own personal life.  How much time do I waste during the day?  Too much was always the answer.  I love to play computer games and can do so for hours on end.  But now, I’m wondering if it has become a vice.  Or, have I earned the right to just goof off for a few hours each day?  Game time for me is brain rest time.  I don’t think; just react to the given situation which I find very restful.  Meanwhile, in some covert corner of my subconscious, I am working out the strategy for whatever situation I’m trying to resolve.  So, maybe that isn’t a total waste of time.  Is it wrong to steal time just for yourself…….I don’t think so.

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2 Responses to Defining Theft

  1. Leo says:

    The people in the snack area would offer free drinks to us during little league. Dad would always refuse and pay for the drinks because he felt it was wrong given his position in the league. That is another example that always sits with me when making decisions about my integrity.

  2. Alicia says:

    Of course I am right. I am always right!!

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